When most people hear the name Steven Tyler, they likely don’t think of him as a country star. Instead, he’s best known for his rocking stage presence with Aerosmith.
But this wild singer seems to be full of surprises. When he decided to make a solo album, even he wasn’t aware of how it would turn out.
Join us as we discover why Steven Tyler chose to go a different route with his first recording outside of Aerosmith.
About Steven Tyler
The charismatic frontman for the group Aerosmith had an early appreciation for music. Born Steven Victor Tallarico on March 26, 1948, in Manhattan, he began playing drums at a young age. But after discovering the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, he decided singing was more to his liking.
Steven formed a band in Yonkers, New York, with four other young musicians in 1964. Originally called The Strangers, they eventually changed their name to Chain Reaction. Not just some garage band, Chain Reaction opened for notable groups like The Beach Boys, The Byrds, and The Yardbirds.
By 1968, the band broke up. The following year, Steven met his future Aerosmith bandmates, Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton, at a concert in New Hampshire. In 1970, they formed a new group with Tyler on vocals, Joe on guitar, and Tom on bass. Steven recruited two other friends to join the band – Joey Kramer on drums and Ray Tabano for rhythm guitar.
Around the formation of Aerosmith, Steven decided to take on a stage name. Initially, he wanted to go by Tyler Britt, but the band’s manager talked him into going by Steven Tyler.
Tyler and Aerosmith continue to make music together over 50 years after the formation of the band. But sometimes, taking a step back and doing something different is necessary for various reasons. And that’s precisely what Steven Tyler did when he decided to switch things up a bit to make a country album.
Why Did Steven Tyler Record a Country Album?
In 2015, Steven Tyler announced to his bandmates that he wanted to take a touring hiatus to focus on a solo album. He didn’t necessarily set out to make a country record. However, he knew doing something on his own was something he felt called to do.
But after meeting the owner of Nashville-based Big Machine Records, who manages some big-name country artists, Tyler was intrigued. So four months later, Steven traveled to Nashville to continue the conversation with the record label owner, Scott Borchetta.
Tyler noticed that rock music was changing significantly and wasn’t exactly happy about it. In a 2016 interview, he said, “Look what happened with the rock world. Look where it went. It kind of spun off like a supernova…You won’t hear ‘You Really Got Me.’ Something that when you hear it one time, you go “F–k!” and you know you won’t ever forget it. That kind of era is gone with rock.”
When he thought about country music, Steven Tyler felt it was more stable and had better longevity than rock. At least, that’s what he was observing in the current musical environment.
Tyler’s 2016 solo album, We’re All Somebody from Somewhere, may surprise even the most die-hard Aerosmith fans. It’s a solid blend of Steven’s rock background beautifully mixed with a bit of a country edge. It’s certainly not your grandma’s country music, though we bet she’d like it all the same!
And for a tune many people will recognize, Tyler included a countrified version of the popular Aerosmith song Janie’s Got a Gun. So give it a listen and see what you think.
Is There a Film About Steven Tyler’s Country Music?
Yes, there is, and it’s fantastic! In 2016, after the album came out, Tyler and a band of top-notch Nashville musicians put on a show at the famous Ryman Auditorium. Steven got Casey Tebo, a longtime filmmaker on the Aerosmith crew, to document the event.
Viewers of Steven Tyler: Out On a Limb get backstage clips, fan reactions, and great live performance footage. The concert portion is full of his stage banter, often comical, while providing an intimate insight into the musician’s life.
And the Steven Tyler seen performing country music isn’t much different than the one we see singing Aerosmith songs. His flashy clothes and makeup are only slightly toned down, but his signature mike stand with scarves is prominently center stage.
As far as concert documentaries go, this film provides excellent insight into a musician many of us love. Plus, the music is fantastic and likely to please rock and country fans alike.
Greatest Steven Tyler Songs
With so many fabulous hits, it’s hard to pick the greatest ones. But we managed to choose three that we think most people agree are some of his best.
Written by Steven Tyler and bassist Tom Hamilton, Aerosmith released Sweet Emotion in May 1975. It was the band’s first Top 40 hit, launching them into mainstream success.
Tyler and Hamilton wrote the song partly about guitarist Joe Perry’s girlfriend, who had a less-than-stellar relationship with Steven. The first line of the lyrics is specifically about her, according to Tyler, “Talk about things that nobody cares, wearing out things that nobody wears.”
Much of the tension was due to Steven and Joe’s heavy drug use at the time. They didn’t get the nickname The Toxic Twins for nothing!
Steven Tyler wrote the lyrics for Dream On over about six years. He started on them before forming Aerosmith. He realized he needed a good band to help him complete the song.
After the group’s first album did so poorly, Columbia Records nearly dropped them. But the band’s management convinced the record company to release Dream On as a single. Good thing they did because the tune was successful on the US music charts, and Columbia decided to keep them.
Tyler explains the lyrics, “Dream until your dreams come true,” refer to the hunger to be somebody. In an interview, he said, “This song sums up the s–t you put up with when you’re in a new band.” His voice on this power ballad surely emotes the heavy feelings he was experiencing around all of that.
Love In An Elevator
Released as a single in August 1989, this popular tune appears on Aerosmith’s third album, Pump. It became an instant hit, reaching #5 on Billboard’s Hot 100 list. In addition, it topped the Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. Steven Tyler and Joe Perry collaborated to write this number.
Love In An Elevator is precisely what you think it might be about. One evening, Steven Tyler was having some fun in a hotel’s hot tub with a group of ladies. When they decided to move the party to his room, one of the women pushed all the buttons on the elevator. Every time the door opened, unsuspecting guests received quite a show.
From the Muse: Dude Looks Like a Lady is another popular Steven Tyler hit. Uncover the story behind the lyrics and find out who Aerosmith wrote the song about.
What is Steven Tyler Doing Now?
In May 2022, Steven Tyler admitted himself to a rehab treatment facility. This happened about a month before Aerosmith was scheduled to play a Las Vegas residency. Tyler became addicted to pain pills after foot surgery earlier in 2022. The singer was sober for ten years before his relapse.
While Tyler left rehab and planned to return to the stage, it seems his health is still a factor. Unfortunately, Steven canceled his appearance at a Las Vegas gala scheduled for February 2023. He was to receive recognition at the event for his 50-year-plus music career and philanthropy work with an organization he started called Janie’s Fund.
We certainly hope to see Steven Tyler back on stage soon, either with Aerosmith or with another band playing his country songs.
Steven Tyler Makes Great Country and Rock Music
Whether as the rock star persona or crooning country singer, Steven Tyler is a natural performer. His career spans over five decades; hopefully, it’ll continue once his health improves. Tyler’s stage presence is nothing short of entertaining and electrifying. Anyone who has attended one of his concerts is sure to agree.
Have you heard Steven Tyler’s country album? Let us know what you think about it in the comments!